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Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
By BRYAN BURNS, Times Staff Writer
Published December 21, 2007
PALM HARBOR - East Lake and Palm Harbor University played to a 2-2 draw in both teams' district finale.
But judging from the contrast in each team's mood after the game, it seems the Eagles considered the draw nothing short of a minor victory.
"I was happy with our effort for the entire match," East Lake coach Sergei Stopek said. "These kids leave it out on the field. They give it everything they have every single game. I was extremely proud of them."
East Lake (9-1-2), whose only loss came to the Hurricanes, scored with just 41/2minutes left in the game when Jonathan Gonzalez knocked home a loose ball in the box after a mad scramble in front of goal. Gonzalez's equalizer came 10 minutes after the Hurricanes took a 2-1 lead on Ishmail Kamara's penalty kick.
"Our guys are a little down," PHU coach Alex Delgado said. "The guys felt that even though we didn't play our best that we should have had the win. But we needed this. We have a very inexperienced team, and they needed a little reality check. They think it's the end of the world right now, but these boys are young. They'll go home and do whatever they have to do, and we'll come back."
After entering halftime with a 1-0 deficit, East Lake fought in the second half to get back into the game. The Eagles, who had just three shots on goal in the first half, had a couple of early scoring opportunities in the second and were rewarded when Josh Gonzalez had an open look at goal from just inside the box and hammered it home.
East Lake continued pressuring PHU goalkeeper Max Gallin (three saves) after its first score and briefly took a 2-1 lead before a goal was called back for a foul in the box. Three minutes later, Kamara took a pass down the left wing, squeezed between two East Lake defenders to get into the box and was awarded a penalty kick after being pulled down attempting to shoot.
Kamara's converted penalty kick gave him 17 goals. He scored No. 16 five minutes into the game to give the Hurricanes the early lead.
"He's a big-time player for us," Delgado said. "He knows it's his time this year. He's a dynamic player who can instantly change a game."
The Hurricanes' lead didn't last long, though. East Lake took advantage of a foul in the middle of the field 35 yards away from the PHU goal. When the free kick caromed away from Gallin, Gonzalez was in perfect position to tie it.
"We're a very good defensive team," Delgado said. "That's what happens when you give up a dumb foul in the middle of the field and you can't clear the ball out. Give all the credit to East Lake because we didn't do the job tonight."
- Palm Harbor University 2, East Lake 0
PHU wrapped up the No. 1 seed for the Class 5A, District 9 tournament.
The Hurricanes scored the all-important first goal just five minutes into the match on a well-executed play among Zoe Lombard, Shannon Healy and Molly Stack. Lombard dribbled the ball down the left wing and crossed to Healy in the box who, with her back turned to goal, laid off a ball for Stack just outside the box. Stack, with a clear shot on goal, drilled the ball into the upper left corner to give PHU the early advantage.
The Hurricanes were consistent in their attack in reeling off 16 shots on goal to East Lake's four. After taking a 1-0 lead into halftime, PHU continued its pressure in the second half and kept the Eagles pinned to their half of the field. Catherine Brinkman scored on an assist from Healy with 18 minutes remaining to all but wrap it up for the Hurricanes (12-1-1).
PHU can clinch the Pinellas County Athletic Conference north championship with a win over Countryside on Jan 8.
- St. Petersburg 52, Lakewood 49
Visiting St. Petersburg picked up its eighth win in a row.
All but two of St. Petersburg's 13 fourth-quarter points came from the free-throw line. The Green Devils hit 11 of 16 free throws down the stretch to improve to 11-3.
Jazmyne Green, who was 5-of-6 from the foul line in the fourth quarter, scored a game-high 23 to lead St. Petersburg (11-3).
"She played well offensively," St. Petersburg coach Ryan Halstead said of Green. "She struggled early in the game, but she knocked down some big 3s in the third quarter for us, and the free throws in the fourth quarter were huge."
Destinea Harris and Latesha Johnson made a number of 3-pointers in the fourth quarter to keep Lakewood (10-4) in it. Harris finished the night with four buckets from behind the arc. Johnson had three.
Lakewood leading scorer Kerah Nelson had 22 points on the night but none in the final stanza.
"She was a beast tonight, but we were able to shut her out completely in the fourth quarter."